It's no understatement to say that UK politics has been through a tumultuous time recently, what with Boris Johnson being forced from office in July, then Liz Truss removed after 44 days in the job of Prime Minister after causing financial turmoil. Now new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is having to grapple with the aftermath, amid the cost-of-living crisis and global inflation.
Perhaps that's why Tesco is giving a nod to party politics in its Christmas ad this year, albeit in a cheeky and upbeat way. The spot by BBH begins with the words "A Christmas Party Broadcast" on-screen in rosette adorned with a mince pie. "Britain, there's a joy shortage," the voiceover begins. "So we at Tesco have formed the Christmas Party to help."
It goes to serve up more political language, claiming that Tesco can bring "more pigs in blankets to more people" and as well as "award-winning wines that deliver on budget" (perhaps a nod to Liz Truss's disastrous "mini-budget?") There's also a Brexit reference, with Tesco suggesting "a referendum to see if Love Actually is actually the greatest Christmas film"). Christmas carol singers meanwhile canvas for "scrapping bedtimes for all" at a family's front door, and one voter gets super-excited by being told that "bin day" is "today." "We stand for joy," Tesco tells us, while reminding us of its low prices.
Tesco's topical references caused some trouble last year, with thousands complaining about a scene in which Santa brandished a Covid "vaccine passport." This year, according to the retailer, it's aiming to "reflect the mood of the nation and show that despite the tough current climate, festive merriment will still be high on the nation’s agenda."
"It’s very important that our seasonal campaigns reflect how our customers genuinely feel and what we know they are looking for," said Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, in a statement. "We understand that it is a tough time at the moment with everyone’s finances under pressure, but we also know that people are looking forward to Christmas – in fact, our research shows that there is even more excitement around it than usual.
The ad, directed by Fredriek Bond from MJZ production, broke on TV last night during the first episode of "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" --- the reality show on which, aptly, Conservative MP and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to be a contestant.